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Poland Celebrates 99th Anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw

Poland Celebrates 99th Anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw
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Monday, 19 August 2019 04:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

August 15, 2019, marked the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw in which Polish forces, commanded by Marshall Józef Piłsudski, despite long odds, decisively defeated the invading Red Army, effectively stopping communism from sweeping across Europe.

The Polish-American brotherhood-in-arms was evident when the Kościuszko Squadron, headed by Generals Cedric Fauntleroy and Merian Cooper, contributed to Poland’s victory by weakening bolshevik forces as they took part in the defense of Lwów. This battle is also known as the “Miracle at the Vistula.” This same day is celebrated in Poland as Armed Forces Day. This year over 200,000 spectators gathered to witness the military parade in Katowice, as Poland celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Silesian Uprising.

Amongst the troops parading were soldiers armed with Grot rifles from the Territorial Defence Force, whose principal goal is to combat hybrid threats. Onlookers also saw the AHS Krab, a tracked howitzer, the Rak, a mortar carrier, and the M-346 Master, a transonic trainer aircraft. Units representing the United States, United Kingdom, Romania, and Croatia were present with a fly over by American F-15 accentuating the festivities. The holiday was barred during the communist era and, disappointingly, some left-of-center politicians mocked the parade on social media.

Yet, while we honor the armed struggle of Silesian Poles against incorporation into German-controlled Silesia, there is no city whose history is comparable to that which occurred in Warsaw, particularly some decades later during World War II. Yet, Warsaw is a part of World War II history now as widely known as it should be. This harrowing, fact-based story begins with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and its erstwhile ally, Soviet Russia.

At exactly 5:00 PM on August 1, Warsaw came to a standstill with signals and sirens wailing to mark the start of Operation Tempest exactly 75 years earlier. Simultaneously a ceremony began at the Gloria Victis Monument at the Powązki Military Cemetery, while, in an effort spearheaded by civil society, thousands gathered in Castle Square to form an anchor, the emblem of the Polish Underground State and the Home Army.

Led by the Home Army, the goal of the Warsaw Uprising, part of Operation Tempest, was to liberate the city from its brutal German occupation. It is today remembered as the single largest militarized effort undertaken by any resistance movement during all of World War II. With 200,000 Poles killed and the capitulation of Home Army units, history continued as Soviet troops awaited for Warsaw to be razed by German forces in reprisal for the insurrection.

It is pivotal to note that the Warsaw Uprising followed the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, where Jews fought against Germany's barbaric effort to move the remaining population of the Warsaw Ghetto into the Majdanek and Treblinka extermination camps. We are reminded of many heroic figures, such as Paweł Frenkiel of the Jewish Military Union, immortalized on an iconic Israeli stamp. We must also think of Captain Witold Pilecki, who authored the first comprehensive intelligence report on Auschwitz and the Holocaust, executed in 1948 by Poland’s communist regime following a show trial.

We bow our heads to the valor, courage, and determination of all those who chose to resist various forms of totalitarianism. These sacrifices cannot go in vain. Today, most of us do not have to sacrifice our lives, but we must have more moral courage in statecraft. Hence, we must remember that deterrence is the key to international security.

We must have the moral courage, embodied by our forebears, to not limit ourselves to condemning the Russian Federation’s policy, which ranges from executing individuals viewed as enemies to annexing parts of neighboring nations.

With Fort Trump, epitomizing peace through strength, we will inhibit Russian aggression and its goal of dominating Europe. With the repatriation of the wreckage of the aircraft carrying Poland’s political and military leadership, as resolved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, we will send an equally strong message of shared principles and values.

Edmund Janniger is the Director of the International Security Forum, an institution under the patronage of the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Poland. His work at the Ministry of National Defense encompasses academic affairs and global engagement. Mr. Janniger holds the record as the youngest sub-cabinet official in Poland’s history. In the Parliamentary Office, Mr. Janniger has been the Deputy Chief of Staff to Minister Antoni Macierewicz and, during the 2015 elections, was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Law and Justice in the 10th District. Mr. Janniger has a proven track record directing complex political and policy-related matters. He holds an adjunct appointment at Marconi University, and was elected by the full Rutgers University Senate to three terms on its Executive Committee. Mr. Janniger splits his time between the Warsaw and New York metropolitan areas, has one young dog, and is an avid hiker. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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August 15, 2019, marked the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw in which Polish forces, commanded by Marshall Józef Piłsudski, despite long odds, decisively defeated the invading Red Army, effectively stopping communism from sweeping across Europe.
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Monday, 19 August 2019 04:37 PM
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